The Lilly Library, University of Indiana, Bloomington, IN, has mounted an exhibition of “The World of Puzzles” including ephemera as well as an related exhibit of WWI material including Austrian and German vivat-bander, strips of silk, which derive their name from the Latin fama semper vivat (“may his fame last forever”) and Bänder (German, “ribbons”).
Vivat-bander were printed were printed at the suggestion of a physician as a fundraiser for military medical aid. The practice of celebrating important military figures and actions on colorful streamers dates back at least to the eighteenth century. The original plan was that the Bänder be printed until the end of the war, when a commemorative peace ribbon would be issued. The examples shown here, produced by a select group of artists, depict significant victories and generals as well as members of the imperial families. The second ribbon from the left, commemorating the battle between French and German forces at St. Quentin, is particularly notable for its allegorical style and ambiguous historical context. The French forces, here symbolized by the Gallic rooster beleaguering the lion of Austria-Hungary, were successfully attacked by the eagle of imperial Germany. However, the Germans did not pursue the French in their retreat and therefore diminished the effect of their own victory.